|Short History of Libraries, Printing and Language|
Before there could be the written word, books and libraries, an oral language had to develop among humans. The origin of language remains one of history's deep-set mysteries. Linguists, psychologists, and biologists researching the origin of language have few clues to aid them in their quest. Obviously, no fossilized remains of spoken words remain, however scientists do have fossilized human remains to study. From this evidence, researchers can study the changes of human brain size, vocal cord development and other key factors in language development. Most researchers agree that sometime around 50,000 - 100,000 years ago something important happened because during that period art, ritualized objects and certain aspects of a civilized culture begin appearing. Around that time the vocal tract, which includes the mouth, tongue, and throat, changed shape. This permitted the human to use language like we know it. Many scientists think that language developed during that time, though it could have existed earlier in some form. Some think people learned to speak over a short period of time, however others believe it developed over a longer time, possibly arising out of sign language. They believe this system still exists among humans on certain levels. Others believe the ability to speak derived from a 'proto-language' that arose, allowing individuals to string individual words together to form a cogent thought. A form of proto-language still survives in young children learning to speak and in many people that try to communicate when they do not speak each others language. Scientists continue to research the origins of language and someday may discover how humans learned to master this important ingredient to human civilization.